End of Month – October 2011

The months are going past at high speed; I refuse to recognise that it’s actually November and therefore almost Christmas.

(We’ll ignore that fact I’m already excited about the dreaded c-word.)

I’m also looking forward to hearing the crazy customer stories from Kyna, I wonder what the nut jobs will do this year??

Recently I extended a border in the front garden. The grass remains boggy most of the year and the border that surrounds it has very few plants other than bulbs and primroses in early spring. I figured that there was very little to use up any water, added to the clay soil problems it just wasn’t helping.
So I removed some of the grass and planted various shade lovers and quite a few bulbs in the hope for year-round interest and also to add some interest to an otherwise very boring front garden.



The back garden is growing nicely, only two areas now that need working on; the Buddleja border (as always) and the upper tier where the summer house was…

No wide views of the Aster border this month, and I’m sure you’re all bored of seeing it anyway, but here’s the over-packed Aster border with the many grasses recently added and now lots of bulbs planted at the last minute just to put them somewhere…

The cherry border is looking surprisingly lush as the plants have put on growth now we’ve been having regular rain. I need to move the Tiarella next year – probably to the extended border in the front garden.




Quite a patch of foxgloves have popped up further along the border… I’m unsure whether to move them or not. Hmmm

Random seeds seem to collect here… I also need to get those grass clumps dug up before they begin to take over!

The Aubreita has also bounced back after I chopped it hard because the centre was beginning to look very nasty and dead.

That’s it for the view this month… it’s too dark now and I can’t get photos during the week. We’ll see what’s out and about in the middle of November for GBBD; it’s also my birthday and graduation! Plenty of celebrations for me 🙂

Copyright 2011 Liz.
All rights reserved. Content created by Liz for Gwirrel’s Garden.

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21 thoughts on “End of Month – October 2011

  1. Goodness Liz, birthday and graduation? Big month… I’d forgotten how enthusiastic you are about the C-word. I normally feel the same, but this year I think I will be too busy worrying about all the painting that needs doing. I must not be a grinch about it, I will really regret it if I don’t put some effort in to the lights a twinkles.

    Your garden is really developing beautifully, you have some lovely foliage contrasts going on, and the front garden will be much improved I’m sure. At least one of us is still removing grass rather than adding it!! Congrats in advance for graduation and birthday.

    • Hi Janet,

      I’m just a big kid, really and like pretty sparkly things 😀

      Tbh, I’m always in limbo with the c-word and my birthday. I usually don’t allow myself to think about the former until my birthday has passed. But then I often find that because it’s only 40 days, when you’re working it goes past so quickly that I miss the excitement and end up in a rush instead. But then if I do allow myself to think about it and begin planning then my birthday passes and I barely even notice! Actually, it’s all three on the same day – GBBD (if that’s to be celebrated! haha), graduation and birthday.

      Good luck with your painting, ours will have to wait until next spring at least. I need to be able to keep windows and such open to get rid of the smell otherwise I’ll just have a constant migraine from the smell 😦

    • Hi Donna,

      Thank you – I still don’t think I’ve cracked the Cherry border; the Tiarella really struggled last year, probably because it was so dry for so long. They get full sun in the morning until around lunch, so I’m probably pushing its limits anyway and with the lack of rain it really became unhappy. So it’s probably for the best that I move it somewhere that it won’t ever really get dry.

  2. I’m so in denial about the season. We’ve had a fabulous October weather-wise, but the rains return on Thursday, and then our clocks change this weekend. All part of the downhill slide toward that c-word that shall not be mentioned before its time 😛 I’m impressed you have foxgloves popping up this time of year. Will they survive the frost alright?

    • Hi Clare,

      We’ve been having ok weather too – for the past month or so I’ve been out in the garden most of the day and for example, today it was 15oC in my car on the way home… Thing is, I know it won’t last much longer because you can guarantee that by mid-November it’ll be a very different story.

      The Foxgloves will be fine, they’re fully hardy natives and will most definitely survive. They usually put on all their growth at this time of year, ready for next year so they can bloom. Only a week or two ago they were much smaller plants… I cannot believe how much they’ve grown and I’m beginning to think I need to move some of them otherwise you won’t be able to see the ferns and such next year.

  3. Enjoy both celebrations Liz. You deserve to have some fun after the hard graft you have put in:)
    I thought of you this morning, I remember just how much you love these short days !!

    Love the persicaria with the pheasant grass. Lovely combination, for me, it works very well.

    I see you have some heathers….glad you managed to source some and hope they flower well. You have done well with the woodland area…..ferns etc always look so magical and of course, go back to ancients times. For me, they always have a deserving place in the garden.

    Tks for sharing your lovely borders with us….I see and note the changes 🙂

    • Hi Cheryl,

      It’s funny that I keep referring to my MSc as my ‘year off’, when in fact I know how much hard work it was at the time!!! Yes I had more free time to be outside and such rather than stuck in an office or whatever but it most certainly wasn’t a year off 😀

      Haha, yes I do love dark mornings and short days… I’m a real night person. Nah I do like the night; I just also love being outside and at the moment that just isn’t ever possible. Someone blocked me in today so I couldn’t even get out of the office at lunch – I’m working back in my hometown so I pop home to my parents at lunch just to get out and relax.
      So I’m a little more wound up than yesterday and haven’t even really had a lunch. I’m trying my best to calm down but I’m still in that ‘go go go’ mode. Perhaps I need to go for a long bath.

      Hopefully, one day I’ll get the Buddleja border sorted. I’ve planted lots of little forget-me-not seedlings which have popped up everywhere EXCEPT the border they were planted in! lol. I’ve gradually been moving them as they’ve got large enough. But other than the spring show from them, there won’t be much. The Astrantias didn’t do too well last year and I suspect it’s because during summer they’re in full sun and it gets very dry. I just can’t win! 😐

  4. Ah your birthday is the same month as mine :). I love the grasses in your aster bed, and your extended front border sounds like a good idea (pretty hydrangea there already).
    Sara

    • Hi Sara; Scorpio are you? Or Sagittarius?

      I’m towards the end of Scorpio so don’t have the typical scorpio traits unlike my friend whose birthday was a few days ago and he most definitely fits the description to a T! 😀

      Actually, I’m considering getting rid of the Hydrangea… It’s barely grown in 4 years and is just all leggy… I think it’s too dark for it, so although you can see some flower heads the wider view is far less impressive! I’ve a Sweetbox and Skimma which would be far better suited to the spot.

      • Ah, Scorpio, indeed, and relatively typical as these things go!
        Good editing for the Hydrangea then! I’ve a tiny sarcococca confusa to pop in too, look forward to that in the depths of winter when it’s a bit bigger – and I’ve been admiring skimmias in flower. Sounds like your bed is going to look (and smell) lovely when you’re done.

  5. Is that lady’s mantle that you bought in a pot? Oh, too bad you aren’t close. I could have given you a GIANT clump or two from my overly-vigorous plants. Clay soil and competition with the trees should keep your plant under control.
    And I’ve already started listening to my favorite Christmas CD’s. Shhh 🙂

    • Hi VW,

      Yep it’s Lady’s mantle… It’s not in a pot any longer though! They were in-progress shots. My parents also have a monster plant that I probably ought to have stolen some of! 🙂

      Shhh, I’ve also been listening to some c-word songs! I’ve been buying some and searching for new, different ones that make a nice change to the ones we usually here over here; radios only ever play the same ones over and over. So I want a bit of variation, some are nice chilled instrumentals that will be goodwhen driving to relax me a little!

    • Hi Deb,
      I’m sure that over the next few years there will be far less ‘new’ about the garden. it’s only because it’s a work in progress as I gradually get each area sorted. The front garden has gone largely untouched for the past 4 years while I work on the back garden. I’ve only planted the odd thing here and there without ever having properly worked on a border yet. Down one side I’ve a few rose shrubs and large Buddleja that I need to decide exactly what I aim to do because they really do cause issues. Plus there’s a very ugly, old red brick wall that I’d love to somehow cover – I’m thinking attach some trellis and get a shade-loving clematis such as an early alpine type to grow up it or a small ivy.

  6. I’ve had foxgloves popping up all over too. I’ve gone around and dug them up and put them where I want rather than right at the edge of a border. I love nature and selfseeding but sometimes seeds don’t always germinate in the best place.

    • Hi,
      I’ve been moving many foxglove seedlings over the past month – they were all popping up in the bark on the tier, so all those you see in the Cherry border were moved from the bark and I’ve also planted at least 10 in the front garden too. However, this patch I mentioned in the post are doing an excellent job of covering an otherwise ugly, muddy slope that I’ve been having difficulty covering…. I planted a number of bugle in it to help cover it but it may be a year or two yet before they’re large enough. Plus, of course when it rains the soil ends up being washed down and collects in corners on the tier… It’s very frustrating trying to work with such issues. So I am tempted to leave the Foxgloves where they are because they’ll help hold the soil, but at the same time I need them elsewhere to add interest! 😀

  7. I see a lot of familiar friends in your EOMV Liz. Like the new grasses you have introduced into the aster border. Think that I would be tempted to move some of the foxgloves so that more of them can reach their full foxglovey potential. Only issue would be when to move them – now or early spring. Ground is still warm though. Sounds as if November is going to be a month to celebrate!

    • Hi Anna,

      Not all the grasses will stay where they are; they were meant for other spots but I needed to plant them asap before it gets too cold and basically dumped them all there.
      Mmmm, yes moving the Foxgloves would be a good idea. I think I also need to move some of them from under the cherry tree because they’re growing so massive they’re beginning to overpower the Hellebores/ferns/Pulmonarias. They ought to be moved to the back of the border really to allow for everything else to survive.
      I’ll try to get them in tomorrow, it won’t take long and Foxgloves have such shallow roots that they’re surprisingly easy to move. And as you say the ground is still warm because it’s been so mild and also nice and damp recently.

  8. Hi Liz, hope the celebrations went well. I always think front gardens are the most difficult to get just right. Loads going on in your garden to keep you interested, I am forever replanting Foxgloves. alistair

    • Hi Alistair,
      Our front garden is especially difficult because of its orientation; but also because like the back it’s slightly tiered i.e. when you walk along the path to the house the garden is waist-height, meaning it’s difficult to have it looking good and I’ve largely ignored it for the past 4 years.
      I’ve allowed a shrub rose and Buddleja to get too large and they’re now making the shady garden even more shady.
      So I’m just wondering whether to get rid of the shrub rose and plant something else – probably another rose which has a nicer habit and blooms such as my Susan Williams-Ellis which has good repeat blooms.

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